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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Order: Cucurbitales 

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I

Seven families, 129 genera and 2295 species, of which four families, 28 genera and 125 species are encountered in southern Africa. Of these two families, 18 genera and 104 species are native to the region, two genera and three species are naturalised, and eight genera and 39 species are cultivated.

Families encountered in southern Africa

Begoniaceae (begonias)

Two genera and about 1401 species. All the species belong to the genus Begonia except for one, Hillebrandia sandwicensis, which is not encountered in southern Africa. Most of the Begonia species are native to tropical America and Asia but the genus is also found in Africa; 13 species are native to southern Africa, and an additional 21 species and two hybrids cultivated in the region.


One genus, Coriaria, with a scattered native distribution round the world but not including Africa south of the Sahara. Coriaria myrtifolia (Redoul) is native to southwestern Europe and is cultivated in southern Africa.



One genus, Corynocarpus, native from New Guinea to New Zealand. Corynocarpus laevigatus (Karaka, New Zealand laurel) is cultivated in southern Africa.


Cucurbitaceae (pumpkin and melon family)

There are about 118 genera and 845 species of Cucurbitaceae worldwide, with 17 genera and 91 species native to southern Africa, a further two genera and three species that are naturalised, and a further six genera and 16 species that are cultivated in the region. Some well known vegetables fall in this family such as Watermelon, Hubbard Squash, Butternut, Pumpkin, sweet melons and Cucumber.

Families not encountered in southern Africa: Anisophylleaceae, Datiscaceae, Tetramelaceae